Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson and Government Statistician Geoff Bascand announced today that the 2011 March 8 Census will not be held, due to the recent Canterbury earthquake.
Williamson said the decision was made after extensive consultation.
"This is not the time to go door to door asking New Zealanders for information when they're dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake," Williamson said.
"It's unthinkable that we would ask this of people. It would be an unfair burden and distraction at a time when they are grieving."
There has been extensive damage to Statistics New Zealand buildings with significant impacts on census staff.
Bascand said he acknowledges the decision will have consequences for people who use the census data in their work.
"We will now investigate the feasibility of alternative options," Bascand said.
Williamson said no decision has been made on future dates. "We will now investigate the feasibility of alternative options," Bascand said.
The last time a census was postponed was during World War II in 1941.
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